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Monday 21 October 2019

'Our beautiful boy Darragh' - baby who died in tragic Cork hospital incident named by grieving family

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ralph Riegel

The newborn baby boy who died after being found underneath his unresponsive mother at Cork University Hospital has been named 'Darragh'.

The little boy died shortly before 7pm last night despite efforts over two days by Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) doctors to stabilise his condition.

He had been discovered critically injured underneath his unresponsive mother Margaret Downey - who was known as Marie Downey.

Ms Downey was a mother-of-three originally from Ballyagran, Co Limerick but living in Kildorrery, Co Cork with her husband Kieran.

A death notice published this morning said that she is mourned by her "heartbroken husband Kieran, her adored sons and Darragh's big brothers James and Sean".

The notice read: "Marie Downey (nee Cullinane) Knockanevin, Kildorrery, Co. Cork and formerly of Ballyagran, Co. Limerick, unexpectedly on March 25th with her beautiful baby boy Darragh. Deeply mourned by her heartbroken husband Kieran, her adored sons and Darragh's big brothers James and Sean, her loving parents Jim and Helen, parents-in-law Tom and Alma, brother-in-law Patrick, sisters-in-law, Una, Fiona, Ellen and Mairead, aunts, uncles, relatives, neighbours and many friends."

Funeral details for both mother and baby will be announced later in the week.

Ms Downey's death is being treated as a tragic accident and an investigation is now underway at CUMH into the full circumstances of the tragedy.

The baby boy was found seriously injured partially underneath his mother by shocked CUMH staff shortly after 7am last Monday.

Ms Downey had given birth last weekend and it is believed she was breastfeeding when the freak accident occurred.

One theory being considered is that she was suddenly taken ill and may have fallen out of bed as she attempted to seek help or reach a toilet.

It is feared she may have suffered some kind of seizure and fallen onto the floor with the tiny baby being partly trapped underneath her.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on her remains at Cork University Hospital (CUH) yesterday.

However, it is expected to be some time before a precise cause of death is confirmed.

A file will be submitted to Cork Coroner Philip Comyn for an inquest to be staged early next year.

CUMH was opened just over a decade ago and the Cork facility ranks as Ireland's most modern maternity hospital.

It is understood Ms Downey had been checked by CUMH staff just a short time before she was found. She had shown no indications of illness or feeling unwell at the time.

When she was later found on the floor, emergency resuscitation was commenced but, tragically, she could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The South South-West Hospital Group of the Health Service Executive (HSE) has described the incident as a tragic occurrence.

Counselling and support services are now in place for the woman's family.

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